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Published: April 9th 2010
18th June ‘09:
'I've never been to Finland,' says Wrecker Jon. Now that's a funny thing to say, because the last time he was here was with me. We fooled about, eight years ago now, atop a beached submarine on an island somewhere. It's odd how he remembers me arm-wrestling that Mafia boss in Russia, yet I remember our day trip. A Depeche Mode tour, I think it would have been.
Namibian is causing trouble the second we step onto the ferry: he refuses to share a cabin for the crossing to Sweden. ‘I can’t sleep in bunk beds,’ he moans at the poker-faced receptionist. Admittedly, he’s too fat to climb into the top bunk, but collapsing into the lower one seems plausible. This is especially so when you consider that he ordinarily sleeps in a truck - in which there are two bunks. Yet he is obstinate about the matter. 'Who are you, Lord Nelson?' retorts the Finn. The verbal tussle continues until - Voila! - Namibian has his own chamber.
I, however, am quite happy to share with Wrecker Jon, the fastest teeth-cleaner in the world. The action is so brisk that I fret whether his
head might come off - along with the nicotine stains, he removes his gums. 'Night Jonboy,' I say, at 11am, and we doze off. It was a late night again.
German Holgar should be Holger, apparently - I made a mistake. Whoopsy, I’ve broken a cardinal rule of travel writing: always double-check the facts. Still, regardless of how he is spelt, we take Little Dick for a lively stroll around the deck, which is poorly situated because you can only walk one side of the ship. It’s not a problem if that side is out of the wind...but it isn't.
We stumble upon David, putting on a brave face, but he isn’t a happy bunny.
'Here's one for the blog,' he says without preamble. 'Any driver weighing over 16 stone should be banned.' Ooh, it seems he is not enjoying his double driver's company. 'If he's not snoring, he's farting. And if he's not farting, he's burping.' David is on a roll now, ranting, his nostrils flaring as he warms to his theme. 'Every garage we pass, he gazes at it, thinking about all the buns and cakes he's just missed out on.' His second driver is
apparently so large that his legs chafe. ‘He leaks,’ adds David, putting the final nail in. On that enigmatic note, perhaps I should sign off for today..
19th June: ("Career change?")
My lunch partner in Copenhagen is American Rob. He’s a fascinating chap, now living in the Windsor area, and full of bonhomie today. We meet romantically on a street corner in a drizzling rain. Our jackets and umbrellas form puddles at the restaurant entrance - it's a super eatery above the old telegraph station - as we settle down to a magical fish tapas...and business.
'What about teaching English?' suggests Rob. I've explained that rock 'n' roll trucking ought to have a shelf life, and that with me it's been reached. Actually, it was reached in 1998 but it's easier to bumble along than change careers. The industry has changed so much, you see; no one even snorts cocaine off backstage flight cases any more. It’s just not like it used to be. And, remember, I don't actually like driving.
So, teaching might not be a bad idea. But where? Rob is thinking of a country in which I find the women attractive - simply
to cushion the move. 'Pretty but not black?' asks Kirsten bluntly. Oh sorry, I forgot to introduce Kirsten. She is a Danish girl, one of Rob's numerous old flames, and she’s struggling to get a word in edgeways. Four words, as it turns out, is to be her lot. She tops up my Chardonnay.
The blog has never been politically correct; let's proceed with the conversation - in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. I may as well ruffle a feather or two, and invite some comments. Now if a white girl prefers black guys to white guys, where is the problem? There isn’t one; that’s not deemed rascist. Indeed, if a black guy fancies black girls, and not white, then that, too, is fine. So why is it deemed bad form for me to admit favouring the English Rose over an ebony beauty? It shouldn’t be.
'So how far down the colour scale do you go?' Rob enquires. Well, it’s hardly a question of “going”; it’s simply a matter of what I’m attracted to. So if we don't count that intoxicating dalliance in Mombasa, then... 'Latte?' he prompts. Heavens, this is controversial
- if they invented an award for enfant terrible of the blogging medium, it could surely go to nobody else.
'Salma Hayek,' I mumble, desperately hoping other diners aren't eavesdropping. 'What about Arabs?' he replies. Crumbs, I’m uncomfortable. The onslaught continues, but Rob is only trying to establish geographical boundaries. The restaurant begins to close. Lunch is taking four hours.
I exclude only one category in the end: spherical. After all, I'd hate people to think I have a roving eye. India is mentioned as a possibility - what goes on underneath a sari is pure mystique - but it’s those dashed arranged marriages that are such a nuisance. In the end, we decide Venezuela could be worth a shot. 'The women are spectacular in Venezuela,' says Rob, 'a variety of hues and colourations you won't have seen before.’ Rightho then, that’s settled. But perhaps I could squeeze in a long weekend in northern Finland first.
Soporific from wine, and feeling fruity from thoughts of complex undergarments, I visit the park. The sun has come out now. Alas, mid-June is still too early for topless secretaries..
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