Did you know that if your baby is under 2 years old, it gets to fly for free? Yeah, that’s right. So imagine my delight, when, on a long-haul from London to Singapore, I’m surrounded by the fuckers. Somewhere along the line, I mislaid my £300 noise-cancelling Bose headphones, which I had purchased specifically with that scenario in mind. So now I’m trying to watch Terminator Genisys on the tiny screen whilst Darling Tarquin or Precious Portia is screaming due to a dip in cabin pressure. And, oh my, they have shat themselves. Wonderful. I’m sure there’s a perfectly valid reason you need to take your kid on a 12 hour plane trip to constant mid-thirties heat, mosquitos and blistering sun, but being the childless husk of a human I am, I can’t seem to pin it down.
Thank Christ for Zolpidem, Scotch and eye patches, eh?
I don’t like to dwell on my current personal life too much here (although past is fair game), so I will concentrate on the place: Bali.
I have visited twice. They eat rice for breakfast there. Can you imagine? Jesus Christ! Actually, it’s pretty nice. Nasi Gorgeng.
The hotels are as opulent as you like (which is pretty fucking opulent as far as I am concerned).
But amongst all the rice breakfasts and infinity pools (see above), what they neglected to do was build any pavements (that’s a sidewalk for you Americans). I almost got mowed down by a bike in the first week. I stepped into the road and it zipped out from nowhere like a pissed off hornet. The driver shouted something at me – Bahasa for Cunt, no doubt. He swerved and I felt the brush of his shoelaces against my naked, semi-tanned calves. Shorts do not become me.
So I got a suit tailored; I like suits. I am thin and just quite tall enough to make them hang right. In a textiles emporium called Alta Moda, the elderly Indonesian man measured my inner legs and my shoulders and I explained that it had to be tight. Above all else, tight. A week later, he hands me this beautiful suit that fits like a (very fitted) glove and I tip him one hundred thousand Indonesian Rupiah. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s five quid.
You have to be a pretty heartless bastard to be unaffected by the poverty. Here I am, handing this guy a fiver and he’s grateful. Grateful. So I started tipping all the time. A few quid here, a tenner there. I’m not minted by any stretch of the imagination, but the whole shebang cost me (after flights) about five hundred quid.
You can buy a beer for a pound.
You can have a lovely three-course meal overlooking an endless sea for a tenner a head.
Stupid rich white man.
I tried to tan. To some extent, I succeeded. Well, I didn’t burn, at least. Back in the UK I am now the same level of moderate pastiness as my average fellow Brit.
Jetlag fucked me – it always does. Googling Walking Dead spoilers at 4am this morning. Went for a run at 5,30am amongst the newly-shed golden autumn leaves, listening to Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed on the 7am commute. Sallow and withdrawn right now.
But what of Indonesia? It’s a special place and the Balinese are gentle, kind people. I don’t resent my jetlag – it’s as though I’ve put Vaseline on the lens, softening the edges of London as I slowly and painfully reacclimatise.
The worst part of the holiday was a run-in with a psychic. A chubby Australian woman who got off on telling people bad things about themselves. “You’re going to die of cancer…I don’t like the colour of your aura…” Shit like that. I can’t really elaborate, but she was truly evil. The reason for her weight gain was, so she said, a surfing accident. She broke most of her ribs and hadn’t been able to exercise ever since. Not psychic enough to predict that big fucking wave, eh?
It was then I realised my utter disdain for cretins like that. Astrologists. Psychics. Mediums. Ah, fuck off. Get a proper job.
You know I believed for a split second I was psychic once. I had spent the night taking speed (it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away). It was a pretty stupid idea because I had to attend a stag-do (Bucks Party, Americans) the following morning. Paintballing. Joy. No sleep. My friend drove me to a field in depths of Hampshire – all rolling hills and village accents. En route I got visit from Sister Paranoia. “Somebody’s going to die today,” I said. “Stop there car and turn around, somebody’s going to die.”
The paintballing site was run by these failed army guys who barked orders at all the kids who had just paid them forty quid for a day of fun.
“PUT YOUR FUCKING MASK ON, MAGGOT!”
“Somebody’s going to die…Somebody’s going to die.”
About 2pm, just as I was starting to sweat blood in my oversized cammo get-up (they don’t tailor military attire, it seems), there was a shriek. I pulled my heavy, paint-splattered helmet off and craned my neck. Some kid in another group of paintballers was lying on the floor, choking on his tongue. He turned green. Epileptic fit.
“I’m fucking psychic!” I said. It was the first time I smiled all day.
The army guys stood around like stunned animals. Useless. A man in our group did some sort of first aid stuff and saved the kid, which was pretty lucky for the kid, because he would have died otherwise.
“I’m fucking psychic,” I said again.
“Shut up Jack, you dick,” the stag told me.
I guess he had a point.