Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Day of the Locust

Just thought I'd mention that I have ticked another one off the list; I have eaten fried locust (and other assorted insects).

I am now back in Bangkok, having flown back painlessly yesterday. The initial minibus to the airport, in an effort to cram in as many people as possible, as usual, nearly outdid itself, with nine adults and two kids, and all the huge luggage that goes with them, crammed into a small nine-seater. The Swedish family picked up last had to dump their baby stroller to make room. Nevertheless the journey was easy enough to allow me to get some sleep. The flight then was short and the bus trip into the city as hassle free as could be expected (that is I had to miss one bus because it was too full, swap buses and then struggle to get my luggage out of the too small rack). I was in my hotel by 3.

Last night I took a stroll down Khao San trying to distract myself from the twenty odd mosquito bites raging on my legs. When I saw the stall piled high with fried beetles, grasshoppers and grubs, I thought I'd exercise some small act of vengence on the insect world. Firstly I bought a couple of large locusts, sharing with an American girl. They were very tasty, the locusts and the girl, but to concentrate on the locusts. The truth is the seasoning is very tasty, the insects themselves are all crunch and not much else. Nevertheless I got a bag load of more locusts and some smaller grasshoppers and munched on these as I walked the street.

I ended my ramble with a drink in the Irish bar I had been in before. This time, it being early, it was nearly empty. The band on were good, but they were playing to empty tables. I was going to go home, but instead ended up chatting to a German guy from Stuttgart with the unlikely name of Claudio (apparently his dad likes Italy). After that the night turned into a drinking session going from bottles of Chang to Cuba Libres. Good fun though.

This morning I went to organise my Vietnam visa. The cheapest offer I had seen was in a nearby travel agency I scouted out when I was in Bangkok last. This morning the girl at the desk wasn't quite as sharp as she had been before. To be honest I suspect she was on drugs. After a lot of absent-minded felafel, eventually she found the form and I filled it out. 'So I can collect this tomorrow?' 'Tomorrow? Oh, no, no. I made a mistake. It will take three days.' That would be two late, so I made my exit and went back to my hotel who, though dearer, would have it within a day.

From then until now I have done very little else, staying in my room reading and listening to Tom Waits for most of the morning. I finished Salinger a few days back (it didn't really get any better) and am now on Robert Silverberg, a science fiction writer who consistently disappoints me. Nevertheless this book, 'Dying Inside', which I picked up in Sydney is one I have always wanted to read since I saw it on the shelf in Waterstone's many years back. The tale of a 'telepath losing his powers', it is actually more about growing old and I suspect contains a lot of autobiographical material. It is easily read and far more satisfying than some of his other work.


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