Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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Here I'm pictured with an exceedingly drunk Finnish girl getting a foot massage. Before the massage, we met up at a nearby restaurant where at first glance she did not slosh drunk. Indeed, she was quite sober and conversational for a good fifteen minutes. But it was like immediately before meeting me she drank several shots of tequila, as before my very eyes her sobriety dissapated, without actually drinking any alcohol. She quickly descended into slurring, then had trouble -- a lot of trouble -- walking, and the creme de la creme was when she told me the story. Three times. In a row. I mean, the exact same story, verbatim, back to back, three times. Each time I feigned surprise in the same spots, and I think she thought it was a new story every time. Then it comes to the foot massage. About halfway through, she passes out. I mean, she's out cold. I'd never seen anyone so gone before. I give an apologetic expression to the bemused locals and try to wake her up. First her name. Then a couple pokes on the shoulder. Then a tweak of the nose. Eventually, I think when I shook her head by the chin, she sputters awake and -- eyes focusing -- fearfully glances about asking (through her thick drunken + Finnish slur) "Where... Where am I?" I explain that she's in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and just had a foot massage from a blind man. She seemed to accept this, and we stumbled away.

To the girls in the audience: don't be her. This is stupid. Not only was she so gone I could have done virtually anything to her, which is incredibly dangerous, but she was an embarassment to me and backpackers/tourists as a whole (we're all ashamed of the "lesser elements" of our social group, such as her). A couple drinks is fine. Even a little tipsy can be cool. But damn, you've gotta have limits.

Speaking of losers, we went to play Snooker after the massage/passout experience. And causing ultimate damage to my billiards ego, she beat me. Handily.

The shirt I'm wearing in the photo you'll notice has a black shadow running across the chest. This actually isn't a shadow, it's a discoloration due to the black leather strap of my bag I wear diagonally across my back. I really got to like that shirt, which was from British India and a sort of linen terrycloth fabric. However, it succumbed to wear and tear like all the rest. When you wear the same shirt every day for months, through some of the most grueling shirt-wearing conditions a tailor could imagine, you start shopping less for fashion (as if that was ever a high priority) and more for durability. The shirt I'm wearing right now is an XXL olive green buttonup faux-Polo shirt (I say faux because the colors started fading the second a drop of water touched it) that doubles as another blanked at night. The color(s) do a great job hiding the stains and marks accumulated on the road, and the olive/red color scheme I thought went well with the communist state's uniforms. (Actually the police wear this terrible uniform involving a shade of green... imagine a neon green light were sunk into brown murky water mixed with a healthy dose of spent radioactive material and that'll get you in the ballpark.)

While my feet were being carefully handled, a nearby patron was having the evil spirits sucked out of his back using bamboo cups. Apparently they use fire in some way to superheat the air inside the cup, which is slapped down onto your skin before it cools. The cooling air contracts and creates suction, which makes the entire cup stick to your skin. I didn't try it, but from the marks those leave on your back (and legs, and face, and anywhere else you stick them), it looks like those evil spirits put up quite a fight on the way out. Thankfully I didn't have cause to resort to any Eastern medicine, as there is some pretty wacky stuff over there.

Copyright 2021 - David Barrett -