He invites himself to my morning coffee and sits down at the table. Nice guy, on holiday, who has been in the Philippines for a week (an incomplete sentence but you’ll have to deal with it).
We chat and swap tales and he says “you have to meet Mary — she’s a 60-year-old South African and she’s been biking around the world for three years.” Ten minutes later, Mary walks by and we wave her over.
She’s a delight. Full of stories, full of life. At times I catch myself thinking I’m a badass and then I meet people like her and realize I’m just playing the Game. She’s OWNING it.
She invites me to join them the next morning to go swim with whale sharks. The Brit, John, says we’re meeting at blah blah blah, around the corner at 8:30. When I ask him for details (I’ve just arrived), he says “I’ll come collect you at 8:30, mate.”
As we’re talking, an Israeli lass walks by, tall, with a lovely smile and round in all the right places. She shines that smile on me and we have that ‘deep eye’ moment.
At the end of the evening, I leave for home but check with him again on the plan: 8:30?
Yah yah yah….
I’m cooking stir fry in the kitchen and she walks in. “You’re Wes, yes? I spoke to your English friend and he says you are a writer. I’m joining you tomorrow for the whale shark dive.”
She’s stunning. No makeup, no nothing — she’s just a real, honest human being, with blue eyes and a smile that would probably be illegal in many countries. We chat for ten minutes and I let my noodles go cold.
Okay, I’m going to have to buy John a lot of beer.
But, as it works out, I’ll end up buying him a load of “I’ll beat the living shit out of you if I ever see you again”.
At 8:20, I’m sitting outside the hotel. At 8:45, I walk around the corner looking for the blah blah place. At 9:00, I have to admit that I’ve been had. At 9:30 I step into the coffee shop next door and get into a conversation with a cab driver. “Oh yes, I saw them all leave. It was right about 8:00. Maybe 8:15″
So I’ve just been cock-blocked by the Brit. He purposely ditched me so he had the ladies to himself. The day rolls on as it always does and he answers my email of “where the hell are you?”, finally, at 5pm. “We sent a couple of people to find you, mate, at 8:45. Amazing, swimming with the sharks”.
Yes. And with two beautiful women in bikinis. It must have been great.
“Yes, I was sitting by the hotel door at that time. There’s no way they could have missed me.”
“Ummmm… probably just a miscommunication, then?”
I chat with the South African (she really is wonderful, adorable and inspiring) and he runs through his story of how it was all bad timing. When he gets up to visit the boy’s room, Mary leans over and says “He told us to meet up at 8:15 and I wondered why he was so bent on the schedule. He was all ‘hurry, hurry, hurry!’ And, yes, he chased and annoyed the Israeli girl to no end.”
“This is Houston control. Cock block confirmed. I repeat: cock block confirmed.”
The Israeli woman (sorry but I don’t use people’s names without their permission) walks by and smiles at me, trailing two guys. Good job, dude. Glad to see that worked out for you.
I let it go. The guy is a douche but I’m not going to make a scene. I pull out my iPad to check my mail and he starts to loudly rag on it — “too expensive and bleh bleh… You need a Nexus, mate!”
“How big is your screen?, Seven inches? Mine’s ten. So your’s is smaller than mine.”
He spews on, quoting numbers about RAM and storage and chip speed.
Oh, you’ve just stepped into my world. I’m a geek and know this dance well. You’re going to mess with my (entirely hypothetical) sex life AND dis my iPad in the same day? Not without a fight, dude.
I answer with a simple “Your’s is smaller than mine”. He blathers on and my response is the same each time. It takes about five iterations of this before he gets the larger point. Your’s is smaller than mine.
I go to buy another round at the bar and he pulls an Irish Exit, running out of the place. I drink his beer.
Back at the table, Mary says “He’s a bit sensitive about that tablet”.
I reply, “Yeah. And he’s a bit of an asshole.”
The night gets weirder after I say my goodbye. On the way to the hotel I meet a group of six young Filipinos drinking a mix of sweet tea and rum. They all have nail polish on. We spend a few hours trying to outdrink each other and then I make my way to the hotel.
Waking up to find bright pink nail polish on your hands is more effective than coffee.
Postscript: I just had breakfast with my Israeli friend. She’s quite charming.