Steak Out

Hippo

It took me a few days to notice that Mr Steak had disappeared from school.

“I have not seen our friend for a while,” I say to Mr Jerry in the elliptical vernacular that is common in this part of the world. He looks at me quizzically. “That one,” I say, motioning in the direction of Steak’s desk.

“Oh. He has gone to get a transcript,” Jerry says, “In Mzuzu.” Thyolo is in the South of Malawi. Mzuzu is in the North. Nothing unusual about the journey taking a few days.

But then he is gone the whole week.
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Tiny Fishes (part v) – The big H

The Crossing
Click to read (part i)
Click to read (part ii)
Click to read (part iii)
Click to read (part iv)

I want to leave Hua Hin. I want to go home. “What’s your rush, my boy?” Terry says, drinking another beer. The six-pack is down to one. The movie is over. Wayne Newton lives. Robert Davi dies. “Let’s all go to the beach,” Terry suggests. I want to refuse. But the light breakfast has only awakened my appetite. And it is lunchtime.

The three of us leave Will’s apartment. It seems friendlier in the daytime, when there are no shadows to peer into. When the darkness cannot conceal villains who will mug and rape and kill and rape me. There is even a pool. Some of the tiles are in the shape of a dolphin. A friendly dolphin. An elderly couple passes us on the way to the elevator. Will greets them. They smile. A friendly smile.
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Tiny Fishes (part iv) – Couchsurfing

Big Mouth
Click to read (part i)
Click to read (part ii)
Click to read (part iii)

I feel like the floor of a taxi cab. There is a creature burrowing into my skull and another one gnawing on the lining of my stomach. My eyelids are heavy. I achieve consciousness and immediately regret it. I want to sleep. I try to sleep. I fail. I open my eyes. The sun is just starting to poke through the curtains. It is 6AM.

I am in the driver’s apartment. Somewhere in Hua Hin. I look around the room. I notice a small stain on the floor. It looks like blood. I am pretty sure it is not mine. It is a very nice apartment (blood notwithstanding). Widescreen TV. Satellite. Stereo speakers. Bean bag chair. Some artwork of an elephant on the wall. Some sort of crane type bird statue in the corner. Where did that blood come from?

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Tiny Fishes (part iii) – Erection night

No Alcohol
Click to read (part i)
Click to read (part ii)

Without the wind of a moving train blowing in my face, the heat of South East Asia takes over. My brow beads with sweat. I wipe it off. The sweat immediately returns. In my hands are two large bottles of beer. One is half empty. The other is half full. We walk off the train. Terry makes a beeline for the toilets.

“Hey! You pay!” the waitress hollers out the window at me. I wedge the bottles under my arms and reach for my wallet. I pay the waitress, tipping her forty baht. She blows me a kiss. As I am trying to put my wallet back in my pocket, one bottle slips from my arm. I reflexively try to catch it, releasing the other bottle in the process. Both bottles hit the ground. The half empty one shatters. The half full one remains intact. Chang sprays everywhere. Miraculously, I manage to avoid most of it. Only the lower part of my trousers receives a splashing. I look around. Embarrassed. No one seems to be looking at me. I step over the broken glass.

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Tiny Fishes (part ii) – The special express

Happy Bread Roll

Click to read (part i)

We stop at my place. I grab a toothbrush. I swallow some ibuprofen and chase it with half a litre of water. While driving to the train station, Terry insists on stopping for supplies. He buys beer. I buy bread. Terry lifts his can. “To Hua Hin,” he says, taking a long pull on the straw. I take a bite from a happy bun and wash it down with Chang.

We arrive at the train station. Terry buys tickets. I hand my beer to him and excuse myself. I enter the bathroom. My eyes are having a hard time focusing. The graffiti swirls in front of me. It is a good feeling. A happy bunny feeling.

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Tiny Fishes (part i) – Nong and Pee

Beer Smile

Day 32. Thailand. I have been teaching for a few weeks. Terry invites me to dinner. The man who takes our order has a long, equine face and an overbite that looks like he has difficulty closing his mouth. We order steak and french fries. And beer.

Terry is in his mid fifties. He is thin, almost too thin. He has something of a predilection for colorful socks. Bright pinks. Bright yellows. Stripes of cerulean blue. His glasses frequently slide down to the end of his nose.

His real name is Robert. The first thing he did when he got here was change his name. He didn’t want to walk around all the time having people call him “Lobet”. He doesn’t seem to mind the fact that the local accent never fails to pronounce his new name as “Telly”.

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Day 4 – The Watchman and the Crow

4-Aug-13

Site visit ends. I wake up early on another chilly morning to catch a bus to Lilongwe. I tried to arrange a night in Blantyre with friends but the Overlords wouldn’t allow it. “We cannot justify you only traveling the short distance,” they say. I could think of a dozen justifications as to why I should travel to the city I will be living next to for two years and exploring, but I decide the time for testing the length of the leash is best left for a future date and a better cause.

Elvis has agreed to take me as far as the bus terminal. We catch our first minibus – going to Limbe. As we drive, a flock of birds flies in front of us. I hear a pathetic thunk as we hit one. The driver’s foot never leaves the accelerator.
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